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Putting cardiovascular disease and vitamin D insufficiency into perspective

  • Armin Zittermann (a1), Stefanie S. Schleithoff (a1) and Reiner Koerfer (a1)
Abstract

The aetiology of CVD is still not completely understood. The present review article summarises data supporting the hypothesis that an insufficient vitamin D status may contribute to the worldwide high prevalence of CVD. Human vitamin D status primarily depends on skin exposure to the UVB spectrum of the sunlight. Epidemiological data indicate that geographic latitude, altitude, season, and the place of residence (urban or rural) are associated with CVD mortality. Interestingly, all these factors also have an influence on human UVB exposure and thus on vitamin D status. Several mechanisms might be responsible for a protective role of vitamin D in CVD. These mechanisms include the inhibition of vascular smooth muscle proliferation, the suppression of vascular calcification, the down regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, the up regulation of anti-inflammatory cytokines, and the action of vitamin D as a negative endocrine regulator of the renin–angiotensin system. The first intervention trials indicate that vitamin D may suppress cardiovascular risk markers. However, more controlled clinical trials are needed to investigate whether optimal oral vitamin D supplementation is able to reduce CVD morbidity and mortality.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Dr Armin Zittermann, fax +49 5731 97 2020, email azittermann@hdz-nrw.de
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

M Fukagawa & K Kurokawa (2005) Renal failure and secondary hyperparathyreodism. In Vitamin D, 2nd ed. pp. 18211831 [ D Feldman , JW Pike and FH Glorieux , editors]. Amsterdam: The Netherlands: Elsevier Academic Press.

P Lips (2005) How to define normal values for serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D? In Vitamin D 2nd ed. pp. 10191028 [ D Feldman , JW Pike and FH Glorieux , editors]. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Academic Press.

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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
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